Business Majors Earn More For Experience


For entry level business majors, finance is the best place to start. Here, recent grads earn $47,000 – and that number climbs to $83,000 for experienced grads. As you’d expect, business majors with a graduate degree earn $75,000 to start in finance (though that number climbs to a $107,000 median over time). Accounting ($45,000) and general business ($41,000) were two other money-making degrees for business majors based on starting salary.

Looking for an interesting salary dynamic? From 2009-2010 to 2011-2012, experienced undergraduate business degree holders enjoyed the following wage growth: General business (+$4,000), marketing and marketing research (+$2,000), finance (+$5,000), international business (+$4,000 over two years), hospitality management (+$1,000), management information systems (+9,000), and miscellaneous business (+$3,000). In fact, the only functions to see declines were accounting (-$2,000) and human resources (-$3,000) among experienced business majors.

Now, contrast that with wage cuts experienced by new graduate degree holders over that same period: general business (-$4,000), accounting (-$2,000), business management and administration (-$4,000), marketing and market research (-$7,000), and finance (-$3,000). Among experienced graduate degree holders with an undergraduate business major, you’ll see similar numbers over these three years: General management (-$6,000), accounting (-$6,000), business management and administration (-$4,000), finance (-$1,000), and human resources (-$2,000 over two years). In fact, marketing and marketing research (+$3,000) was the only category where experienced advanced degree holders saw a pay increase.

Mind you, these numbers don’t reflect the economic recovery from 2013-2014. Even more, they don’t segment graduates by alma mater, which could also impact the numbers to an extent. However, they do exemplify a truth. When it comes to business, experience pays (literally and figuratively). While an advanced degree can help launch business majors to upper management, it doesn’t necessarily pay off initially. However, an advanced does bolster job security, particularly in the business sector.


2011-2012 Earnings


Major Recent College Graduate Experienced College Graduate Young Graduate Degree Holder Experienced Graduate Degree Holder
 General  Business  $41,000  $69,000  $61,000  $91,000
 Accounting  $45,000  $73,000  $66,000  $97,000
 Business  Management and    Administration  $37,000  $65,000  $59,000  $83,000
 Operations  Logistics and  eCommerce  NA  $76,000 (2009-2010)  NA  NA
 Business  Economics  NA  $85,000 (2010-2011)  NA  NA
 Marketing and  Market Research  $37,000  $72,000  $58,000  $94,000
 Finance  $47,000  $83,000  $75,000  $107,000
 Human Resources  and Personnel  Management  NA  $62,000  NA  $76,000
 International  Business  $42,000  NA  NA  NA
 Hospitality  Management  $34,000  $59,000  NA  NA
 Management  Information  Systems and  Statistics  NA  $88,000  NA  NA
 Miscellaneous  Business and Medical  Administration  NA  $64,000  NA  NA

NA = Insufficient Data (Less than 100 records)

Source: Georgetown University and the U.S. Census Bureau

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